A third grade teacher in Cupertino, Calif., reportedly hosted a lesson in which students were required to identify aspects of their identity that were either privileged or oppressed.
The lesson is the latest in a series of incidents around the country that raised questions about how critical race theory is influencing U.S. institutions.
Discovery Institute researcher Chris Rufo, who has opposed critical race theory training in many settings, flagged the lesson, which reportedly took place during a math class. A slide leaked by Rufo identifies lists “White,” “cisgender,” “Christian,” and other traits as part of the “dominant culture in America.’
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Other materials instruct students to create an “identity map” with their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, and other attributes. Two slides specifically tell students to “circle the identities that hold power and privilege on your map,” as well as to write about which of their identities “hold power.”
Rufo told Fox News the school that Meyerholz Elementary shut the lesson down after parents demanded a meeting with the principal. One of the parents reportedly told Rufo: “They were basically teaching racism to my 8-year-old.”
Another likened the content to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
It divides society between “the oppressor and the oppressed, and since these identities are inborn characteristics people cannot change, the only way to change it is via violent revolution,” the parent reportedly said. “Growing up in China, I had learned it many times. The outcome is the family will be ripped apart; husband hates wife, children hate parents. I think it is already happening here.”
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When asked about Rufo’s article, School Board President Jerry Liu told Fox News that he believed the material was inappropriate.
“The incident that you’re referring to happened late last year,” he said via email. “The district had received several parent complaints and followed up with an investigation. After the investigation, we believe that the material that was presented in the class was inappropriate. The Meyeholz [sic] principal has reached out to the parent community to explain our position, and we have communicated this determination to the teacher as well. For privacy reasons, I am unable to comment further on personnel issues.”
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Meyerholz’s incident was just the latest in what appeared to be a broader trend after the George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis last May. In December, Fox News reported on a lawsuit in which a Nevada charter school allegedly told students to reflect on oppressive parts of their identity. Most of the reaction to these trainings has occurred at the governmental level, but December’s lawsuit indicated that more individual complaints could be coming in the courts.
After Rufo published a series of allegedly leaked documents from diversity trainings, the Trump administration ordered federal agencies to halt those events last fall. Trump himself signed two executive orders on the issue, including one that installed a commission to promote “patriotic education” in the U.S.